Carbon nanotubes upcycled from food packaging plastics could be used to create wires for electricity—reducing the accumulation of discarded plastic.
The technique, from a team at Swansea University, relies on chemical recycling to break down black plastics—commonly used in food packaging and one of the most difficult to recycle—into its three elements of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. That carbon can then be used to create carbon nanotubes “from the bottom up” that were able to transmit electricity in a prototype model.
Building on that success, the team hopes to improve the technique to the point that it can be used to manufacture high-purity electrical cables on the large scale within three years.
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